County narrowly approves wind farm


BLOOMINGTON – It appears a wind farm is coming to northern McLean County after the county board narrowly approved a proposal from renewable energy company Invenergy by a vote of 10-8 Tuesday.

Plans for McLean County Wind Energy LLC include turbines on approximately 13,000 acres in an agricultural district which covers the townships of Chenoa, Gridley, Lawndale, Lexington and Money Creek. The project is generally located east of County Highway 29, south of U.S. Highway 24 and north of Illinois Route 165.

District 1 Mclean County Board member Catherine Metsker had proposed an amendment to the motion which called for validation of a sound study, wildlife considerations and moving three of the proposed turbines 3,300 feet. The amendment failed, which led to the final vote on the original motion.

Fellow board member Don Cavallini then proposed tabling the motion to April if possible, although that motion never materialized since statute requires the board to vote within 30 days of a public hearing. If the vote was tabled to April, the hearing process would have to be reopened.

“From my perspective, the proposal lacks balance,” Cavallini said. “I move we hit the pause button.”

District 8 member Paul Segobiano said tabling the issue would deny board members the chance to fully “vent” the application. He suggested voting on the original motion.

Prior to the vote, several local residents spoke for and against the wind farm proposal. Mike Matejka called the project economic development for the community and encouraged support for other energy projects as well.

“I think we’ve got a chance to be a real leader here,” Matejka said.

Eric Elder, who lives in the project area, listed several reasons why he thinks the county should deny the wind farm. He said the zoning board report does not mention the effect on property values or someone’s view being obstructed.

“An agricultural agreement of any kind does not belong in this project.”

Also at Tuesday’s McLean County Board meeting, the group approved various solar power projects in Arrowsmith and Downs townships. Arrowsmith I Solar, LLC is north of 1100 North Road, approximately two-fifths of a mile east of 3400 East. Arrowsmith II Solar is north of 1100 North, approximately three-fifths of a mile east of 3400 East. Meanwhile, Moraine Solar is west of 2200 East Road, approximately three-fifths of a mile north of 600 North. The solar projects are being developed by Cypress Creek Renewables.

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